Saturday, November 28, 2009

How to understand our customer relationship?

Custom has a life cycle consisting of different stages. Custom gains the form of a customer relationship when both parties (buyer/seller) experience the relationship in this way. Custom begins when a potential customer first notices us as a possible vendor. The relationship ends when the customer ceases to have any contact with us, our business, or products and he or she is no longer within the range of their influence. Or, when either party severs the relationship in a duly responsible way.

Custom always begins with an interest phase. If this stage awakens sufficient interest, custom moves onto the beginning of the purchasing phase, i.e. communication of either a purchase or selling offer. Once a deal is thus made, custom moves on to the actual service phase. It is at this phase, at the latest, that custom takes on the form of a customer relationship.

The service phase ends once the service in question has been realized and the duties of both parties have been met. In other words, the service stage includes always participation on the customer's part. Actual use of the product in question begins at custom care phase. This concerns customer care after delivery has taken place and supporting use in accordance with agreed upon terms and in line with the good conventions of the business field throughout all stages of the customer relationship. 

When new life cycles in the customer relationship emerge the custom care phase continues alongside these as custom maintenance.

Test yourself:

  1. I will do what I have promised. How can I make that I won't make promises that I won,t be able keep?
  2. The customer receives what he wants. How do I ensure this?
  3. I will improve my activities continually. Can I succeed in this by just seeing to customer relationship management?

(Reference: Anttila, J., Vakkuri, J.: ISO 9000 for the creative leader)